A pensioner who died after being left without carers for nine days died from natural causes which were contributed to by neglect, an inquest concluded this afternoon.

Gloria Foster, 81, was found near death by a district nurse who visited her home in Priory Court, Chipstead Road, Banstead, on January 24 last year.

She had been left without carers, who visited her four times a day to help dress, wash and feed her, for nine days after the care agency Care1st24, based in Sutton, was shut down following an immigration raid by police on January 15.

Mrs Foster, who had been suffering from dementia, depression, diabetes and a number of other health problems, died in Epsom Hospital on February 4.

Delivering his verdict at Woking Coroners' Court this afternoon, Coroner Richard Travers said that Mrs Foster's immobilisation for the nine days had "contributed in a way that was more than minimal" to her death from pulmonary thromboembeulism and deep venus thrombosis.

He said: "I find that it was more likely than not that the period of immobilisation did contribute in a way which was more than minimal and the dehydration Mrs Foster suffered with which was limited to that period also contributed in a way that was more than minimal.

"There was a gross failure to provide Mrs Foster with basic care which contributed in a material way to her death.

"Gloria Foster died from natural causes contributed to by neglect."

Mr Travers said he would be writing to the chief executive of Surrey County Council to raise a number of important points, as well as to the Care Quality Commission.

The coroner said that had there been a proper appreciation of the fact that Mrs Foster needed care four times a day that care would have been provided by Surrey County Council and that what happened was a "grave indictment of the service or lack of service provided".

Last week, the court heard how Elizabeth Egan, the social worker responsible for ensuring that alternative arrangements were made for Mrs Foster following the raid on Care1st24, admitted she had "failed" the pensioner by not following up an unanswered call she said she made to Mrs Foster to inform her of what had happened.

Mrs Egan said she had been suffering from depression and burn-out and could not cope with her workload. She also said she wrongly believed that, as a self-funder, Mrs Foster could make her own alternative care arrangements or would have someone to help her do so.

She said that she "sat back mentally" and that she somehow "blotted it out of my mind and left it".

Mrs Egan told the coroner: "The bottom line is that I failed. I made a mistake."

A police investigation into the issue last year found no record of the call.

Also giving evidence at the inquest last week, Jane Giles, the locality team manager for Reigate and Banstead at Surrey Adult Social Care at the time, said she had delegated the task of making alternative care arrangements for clients to Mrs Egan.

She also said she trusted Ms Egan and admitted she had not sought specific assurances that alternative care arrangements had been found for all those who needed it.

Ms Giles told the court: "I think that under the pressure of the workload within the whole team that, right the way down from senior management, we took assumptions on what was happening and there was no clear loop for feedback.

"We all took the assumptions and that's where it went wrong and that was because of the context everyone was working in at the time."

Mr Travers said today that "no checks and balances were undertaken" to ensure Mrs Egan had undertaken the work to make alternative arangements.